Ex-CM Fadnavis slams Sena for its U-turn on “Love Jihad” issue

Sanjay Raut - Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai : The senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday targeted the ruling Shiv Sena for its U-turn on “Love Jihad” issue and pointed out that the Sena had once taken a strong position against “Love Jihad.”

The vocal Sena Rajya Sabha member and the party spokesman, Sanjay Raut had said that let the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government enact a law against religious conversion due to marriage or as some term it “Love Jihad”, then the Maharashtra government will study it and think about it. Moreover, without taking any name, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece, ‘Saamana’ said BJP’s Minister of State for Home Affairs earlier this year said in Parliament that the concept of “Love Jihad” has no place in law and till now no case has been reported by central agencies in this connection. “Hence, the legal definition of ‘Love Jihad’ needs to be decided first,” the editorial said.

On being asked about his support to Uttar Pradesh’s ordinance on “love jihad” and whether he thinks it was possible in a progressive state like Maharashtra, the former Maharashtra chief minister Fadnavis said, “How can be the law on love jihad called regressive? The terms progressive and regressive are individual’s perspective. I am surprised about Sena, which had once taken a strong position against ‘love jihad’.” “They wrote big editorials, sought legislation against love jihad, but now they have taken a U-turn,” he added.

Earlier, Sena said “Love Jihad” needs to be first defined legally, and BJP leaders should come out of the “illusion” that they can trouble the Maharashtra government by harping on the issue.

On the other hand, Fadnavis alleged that after forming a government with the Congress and the NCP, the Sena went soft on the issue of “Love Jihad.” He said that Sena used to object and beat up couples during Valentine’s Day. He said Sena mouthpiece, Saamana, used to write articles on “Love Jihad” from 2014 to 2016. “But now it looks like that party has changed,” he further said.

The UP cabinet had decided to introduce an ordinance, clearing a law against unlawful religious conversion for the sake of marriage to check ‘love jihad’. The ordinance provides for a jail term of 1-5 years with Rs 15,000 penalty for forceful religious conversion.